January 9, 2023
When Ronaldo announced his departure of Manchester United several weeks ago, few were the ones who guessed he would decide to continue his career in Saudi Arabia, playing for Al-Nassr. And naturally, most of Ronaldo fans still don't know much about CR7's new club...
There are not that many clubs in the world that would be able to sign Cristiano Ronaldo – even on a free transfer. He has played for the very best teams across Europe and is now embarking on a new chapter of what has been arguably the greatest football career ever. After agreeing to leave Manchester United for the second time, Ronaldo may have gone back to Italy at Juventus, or joined Lionel Messi at PSG. But he has decided to explore an entirely new path, joining Al-Nassr of the Saudi Pro League. If you want to bet on soccer, or just want to know more about Ronaldo's new club, here's a profile of Al-Nassr and Saudi football.
Cristiano Ronaldo - Presentation at Al-Nassr:
Al-Nassr was founded in 1955 and currently plays its home games at Mrsool Park, a 25,000 capacity stadium in Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia. They are the second most successful club in the country, having won the Saudi Pro League nine times. They have also lifted the King's Cup six times, the Crown Prince's Cup three times, and the Federation Cup three times.
Although the club won the league title three seasons ago, the finest moment in its history on a regional scale was in 1998. That year Al-Nassr claimed an historic double of winning both the Asian Cup Winners' Cup and the Asian Super Cup.
Al-Nassr's main rival is the biggest club in Saudi Arabia, Al-Hilal. Now that Ronaldo has joined, the Knights of Fajd, will be looking to continue their fine form shown already this season. After finishing down in sixth in 2021-22, Al-Nassr went into the New Year top of the Saudi Pro League.
As with most teams in the league, the majority of the Al-Nassr squad is from Saudi Arabia itself. There was good representation at the recent FIFA World Cup in Qatar from the club – and two were named in the squad for the Arabian Gulf Cup in January. But there are some other more familiar faces for football fans that are only just learning about Saudi football.
Ronaldo will be joining up with Cameroon international striker Vincent Aboubakar, in what could be a fearsome front line for Al-Nassr. He starred for the Indomitable Lions at the 2022 World Cup, memorably scoring against Brazil and then being sent off a second yellow when he celebrated by taking his shirt off.
Other internal players in the Al-Nassr squad include Pity Martinez, who has played in Major League Soccer as well as starring for River Plate in his home country – and Alvaro, a Spanish defender who most recently played for Marseille. But the other notable player welcoming Ronaldo to Riyadh will be keeper David Ospina.
The Colombian shot-stopper played for six years in Nice before joining Arsenal in the Premier League. He then joined Napoli in Italy's Serie A, before making the move to the Saudi Pro League in the summer of 2022.
As a major player in the Middle East it is not surprising that its clubs are some of the most successful. Although Al-Nassr has only managed to be a beaten finalist in the AFC Champions League – back in 1995 – there has been plenty of other Saudi representation.
In fact, Al-Hilal is the current AFC Champions League champion – as well as the most successful club in the tournament's history. Al-Ittihad has also won the competition twice and there has been a Saudi team in the final for three of the last four editions...
Although a big-money move to a Saudi club might seem like the winding down of Ronaldo's career, the player himself will not be looking at it that way. There are already rumors that he could join Newcastle on loan (owned by Saudi Arabians, of course). So it seems fair to say that we have not seen the last of CR7 on the world stage quite yet...
Cristiano Ronaldo next game for Al-Nassr in the Saudi Professional League is on January 14, Al Tai. You can watch Al Shabab vs Al Nassr, AC Milan vs AS Roma, Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona, Manchester United vs Charlton, Manchester City vs Chelsea, and Oxford United vs Arsenal, all matches provided from our live football game pages.
Al-Nassr next game:
Al-Shabab vs Al Nassr kick-off time (14-01-2023):
Beijing (China) | UTC/GMT+8: 01:30
India (New Delhi) | UTC/GMT+5.30: 23:00
Saudi Arabia (Riyadh) | UTC/GMT+3: 20:30
Italy (Turin) | UTC/GMT+1: 18:30
Spain (Madrid) | UTC/GMT+1: 18:30
Portugal and England (Lisbon/London) | UTC/GMT+0: 17:30
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) | UTC/GMT-3: 14:30
New York (United States) | UTC/GMT-5: 12:30
Los Angeles (United States) | UTC/GMT-8: 09:30
Sources: ronaldo7.net / fifa.com / beinsports.com / worldsoccertalk.com